You may well have seen plenty of 'how to' videos on the internet about unblocking sink plug holes and drains. One of the (visually) more interesting tips is to pour bicarbonate of soda or baking soda down the plug hole and then add white vinegar and watch the fizzing fun begin! You may also remember from chemistry class that bicarb is alkali and vinegar is acid. So the reaction you are seeing is the two effectively neutralising each other. So is it actually helping?
The answer in a roundabout way is 'yes'. But......there's a much better solution. Our MD (and qualified chemist) Bruce Maxwell explains:
"Adding vinegar and bicarb will fizz like crazy and the physical action will knock around debris. The bubbles will do a bit of cleaning, but bicarb is not a great cleaner for sink drains as its pH is too low – it would be better to use a stronger alkali such as Soda Crystals with hot water. This will react with any fats and oils that are restricting the pipe, and make them water soluble, and flush away with the other matter that is causing odours and/or restricted flow. Adding vinegar after a good soak in Soda Crystals will fizz and make sure everything is knocked off the pipe walls."
Remember, prevention is better than cure! Once a pipe is TOTALLY blocked, your best options are plunging and rodding. We don't like to recommend toxic products like caustic soda (not to be confused with Soda Crystals) for obvious reasons. Put a mugful of Soda Crystals and hot water down your drains each week and you shouldn't have a problem. They are biodegradable and can even be used in houses with septic tanks.
NB. Do not use soda crystals or liquid soda crystals on aluminium or lacquered surfaces.